Philie Group Blog

Finding Your Next Hire
By Mike Philie

This blog originally published in Printing Impressions


It seems that no matter what role you’re trying to fill, finding good, qualified candidates remains a challenge. Face it, it’s been difficult for many years now. From entry level positions to those that require higher levels of experience, talent acquisition is truly an art. Or is it?


Are you the employer of choice?

What are some of the things that you can do to become the employer of choicein your area? Let’s start off with the things that don’t really cost much.

  • You do a good job of solving client problems every day, make sure to let people know. Be active in the social networks of your choice, sharing your good deeds and telling your story. Case studies, pictures of happy clients with their projects – it’s all good.
  • Are you growing? With growth comes opportunities for advancement and learning new skills. You may be hiring for a certain position but reports show that the younger people are looking for ways to learn, grow, and do different things. That usually comes through growth.
  • Check your culture. What’s it like to work there, are your employees treated with respect, have clear expectations of their role and are given feedback on their performance? Things that are important but sometimes left for granted during the heat of the battle of running a business.
  • You’re a high-tech business! There is so much technology in your business that it makes the companies from 10-15 years ago look like they came out of the stone age. Even the smallest companies are able to take advantage of electronic file automation and personalization. What happens is that your story isn’t always being told the way it could be. Take a good look around your business and start listing all the technology that you have, the application, and how it impacts your ability to deliver for your clients. Now, tell your story from that perspective.


Recruit, recruit, and recruit

OK, so now they’ll be lined up outside your door, all wanting to work in your business right? I wish it was that easy. So you’re trying to fill a position and you have several channels to consider. Remember that there are active job seekers as well as passive job seekers. The passive ones are the folks that say they are happy where they are and are not looking to move. However, they may often be the best candidates. Recognizing that, your search should take into account a strategy for both active and passive candidates. Here are a few ideas that you can ponder and determine if they are right for you.

  • Use word of mouth through your existing employees, clients and suppliers.
  • There are many print related job boards. Check out what’s available in your area. Also consider that depending on the position, you may want to reach out beyond the traditional print community. Please make sure that you have a well-written ad.
  • Placing ads on web sites such as Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, and Craig’s List – there are also many more available. Depending on the position, some sites may be better than others. I’ll repeat, please make sure that you have a well-written ad.
  • Build your recruiting bench. Ask yourself “who are the 3-4 people in my area that I would love to attract to my company?” Can you name those names? Recruiting for your business is a contact sport. Start building your contacts, get to know these folks. Your position could be that if they were ever to want to leave their current position, that you would be the first person they would call. Earn the right to have the first right of refusal. This takes time and it doesn’t happen overnight. But, building a successful business with the right people doesn’t happen overnight either.

The question reverts back to “do you have the best people because you have a great company” or, “do you have a great company because you have the best people?” A tongue twister no doubt, but something to consider. I didn’t even touch upon the different interviewing practices and the use of testing profiles to help determine fit. Perhaps in another post.


There are several great resources out there to help you in your quest. Here’s an article from McKinsey & Company that you might find useful, Attracting and retaining the right talent. There is also a good book on hiring written by Bradford D. Smart called Topgrading. Work at it, it’s a process to make hiring the best people easier than it is (I said easier, not easy). Good luck and have fun.


Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at, LinkedIn or email at


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